Covid 19 - Financial Supports Available to Contractors & the Self-employed >>
Covid -19  Financial Supports announced for the Self-employed

Covid -19 Financial Supports announced for the Self-employed

Posted Friday, March 13, 2020

(Updated 25th March 2020)

As the Coronavirus protective measures ramp up, people are concerned about the impact the virus will have not just on their daily lives but on their ability to go to work, earn their living and pay bills.

What does this mean for you as a self-employed Professional Contractor?

The good news is the Government is aware of the financial implications of the spread of the virus on workers. Increased and fast tracked social welfare payments and a range of financial supports have been agreed.

A number of Financial Supports have been announced…

  1. Covid-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment for the Self-Employed;
  2. Short Time Work Support;
  3. Illness Benefit for Professional Contractors & the self-employed affected by Covid-19;
  4. Supports if you employ staff;
  5. Delayed Tax Payments;
  6. Cashflow Measures (Business and Personal).


1. Covid-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment for the Self-Employed

COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment is a new social welfare payment for employees and self-employed people who become unemployed during the Covid-19 (corona virus) pandemic.

What is it?

This is a fast-track payment which is €350 per week and you can claim it for 12 weeks. When you apply for the COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment, you should also apply for a normal jobseekers payment for your situation. If you can’t apply for a jobseeker’s payment at the same time, you should do so within 12 weeks to ensure you continue to receive a payment (if applicable) after the emergency payment has finished.

How to apply

Here’s a simple Step by Step Guide we created on how to apply



2. Short Time Work Support

What is it?

Short Time Work Support is a form of Jobseeker’s Benefit and is an income support payment if your contracted hours have been temporarily cut back.

The payment is made in respect of your regular income for the days that you are no longer working. For example, if your working week has been reduced from a 5 day work pattern to a 3 day work pattern, you can receive support for the other 2 days.

Short Time Work Support is paid for a maximum of 234 days. Your entitlement will depend on the number of social insurance contributions you have.

How to qualify

o qualify for Short Time Work Support, you must be:

  • temporarily working a standard reduced weekly work pattern
  • working 3 days or less per week having previously worked full-time
  • be under 66 years of age
  • be capable of work and be available for full-time work
  • have enough paid or credited social insurance (PRSI) contributions at class A, H, S or P. Self-employed Contractos typically pay class S PRSI.

Rate of Payment

Your rate of payment will depend on your average weekly earnings in the governing contribution year and the change in your work pattern. For example, if you are placed on a 3 day work pattern having previously worked 5 days, you may be entitled to up €81.20 for the 2 days you are no longer working. This represents two fifths of the maximum weekly rate of Jobseeker’s Benefit of €203.

You may also get an increased rate of payment for a qualified adult and qualified children.

Short Time Work Support is not taxable.

How to Apply

The quickest way to apply is through – however you must have a verified MyGovID account. You can also apply through your  local Intreo Centre or Social Welfare Branch Office.



3. Illness Benefit for those affected by Covid-19

What is it?

When a worker is told to self-isolate by a doctor or has been diagnosed with COVID-19 (Coronavirus) by a doctor, they can apply for an enhanced Illness Benefit payment of €350 per week.

To be eligible for this payment a person must be confined to their home or a medical facility.

Do not visit your doctor. You must contact them by phone.

Important note: If a person decides to self-isolate without it being medically certified, they won’t be entitled to the payment or job seekers benefit.

Who Qualifies?

To receive the enhanced payment, you must be:

  • self-isolating on the instruction of a doctor or diagnosed with COVID-19 (Coronavirus)
  • be absent from work and confined to your home or a medical facility

Rates of payment

The personal rate for this payment is €350, as compared with the normal Illness Benefit rate of €203. It was originally set at a rate of €305 but it was increased by Government on March 24.

It will be paid for a maximum of 12 weeks where a person is self-isolating but will be paid for the duration of a person’s absence from work if they have been diagnosed with COVID-19 (Coronavirus).

How to Apply

Step 1

If you are an employee or self employed and feel you may be suffering from Covid-19 or may need to self-isolate, you should contact your doctor by telephone.

If the doctor is satisfied that you have Covid-19 or that you should self-isolate, they will advise you accordingly.

The doctor will then complete a medical certificate on your behalf and send this directly to the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection.

To receive a payment, you will need to provide your doctor with your:

  • Full name
  • PPS Number
  • Date of birth


Step 2

Complete an application form for Illness Benefit (Form IB1) which is available in any of the following ways;

  1. Call 1890 800 024 or 01 2481398 between 9.00am and 5.00pm Monday to Friday to get an application form by post;
  2. Ask someone to pick up a form at your doctor’s surgery or at your local Intreo Centre;
  3. Request a form to be posted to you by sending an email to;
  4. Apply online (an online application process will be available by the end of March). Stay updated here.

Note: It is important to complete part 5 of the Illness Benefit form as this contains how you would like to be paid. You don’t have to fill in part 7 of the form.


Step 3

Send your application form by Freepost to:
Social Welfare Services, PO Box 1650, Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection, Dublin 1.
Once both the application form and the medical certificate are received payment will be processed.



4. Supports if you employ Staff

The temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme was announced by the Government on March 24th. A Self-Employed Professional Contractor can not claim this support for their own income. Only claim this if you have employees. An eligible employer will be supported up to 70% of an employee’s take home income up to a maximum weekly tax free payment of €410 (that is, 70% of take home weekly income of €38,000 per annum).

The scheme will provide support on incomes up to €76,000 or twice average earnings. It will be capped at net €350 for incomes between €38,000 and €76,000.

The scheme, enables employees, whose employers are affected by the pandemic, to receive significant supports directly from their employer. The scheme will run for 12 weeks from 26 March 2020.

The employer is expected to make best efforts to maintain as close to 100% of normal income as possible for the subsidised period.

Full details of the scheme can be found here.



5. Delayed Tax Payments

  • No Interest on late VAT payments for the January/February return. Still file the return as normal but without making a payment if experiencing cashflow difficulties.
  • No Interest on late PAYE (Employers) liabilities for the  February and March returns. Still file the return as normal but without making a payment if experiencing cashflow difficulties.
  • Current Tax Clearance will remain in place for all businesses over the coming months.
  • All debt enforcement activity is suspended until further notice.



6. Cashflow measures (Business & Personal)


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